Anti-Racism

Condemn Starmer u-turn on free movement

The Labour Campaign for Free Movement is seeking signatures and Constituency Labour Party and union motions calling on the Labour leadership to support democracy, migrant rights and the 2019 Labour Party conference decision on free movement: see here (up with other motions here). This is a response to Keir Starmer saying on 10 January, when asked if Labour would stick to its free movement policy: “I don’t think there’s an argument for reopening those aspects of the treaty”. A year ago, asked when running for Labour leader whether he would bring back free movement for EU citizens, Starmer said...

Marcus Garvey, model capitalist?

While I was writing my Solidarity pieces on Marcus Garvey, I heard of a short Radio 4 programme Black Star Line: The Story of Marcus Garvey. Produced in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, the programme, narrated by 1Xtra DJ Seani B, sought in less than 30 minutes to tell us about Garvey and examine the influence Garvey and Garveyism has had today. Even as a potted history it has some holes. We are told that Garvey faced opposition from other black leaders in the US like Du Bois and A Philip Randolph, but never why. It suggests Garvey was an ambitious entrepreneur who believed in...

Racism behind the deportations

On Wednesday 2 December, a charter flight intended to deport 50 Jamaican nationals from the UK back to Jamaica went ahead, though with thirteen rather than 50. There had been a campaign with many high-profile celebrities such as Naomi Campbell fronting it. Home Secretary Priti Patel was heavily critically of the Labour MPs and celebrities such as Thandie Newton who protested, referring to them as “do-gooders”. She claimed people seeking to halt the deportation risked the safety of British people by allowing criminals to reside on British soil. To what extent are “British” people in danger from...

The Potentate and the Brotherhood

Stephen Wood continues the story of the pioneer black nationalist leader Marcus Garvey. Part 1 of this account was in Solidarity 573 here. Garvey thought the trade unions in the American Federation of Labor were unreformably racist organisations. Garvey had his own solution to the lack of black workers’ rights; and that was black-owned and black-run businesses. Such businesses, he claimed, wouldn’t discriminate against black workers because they would be founded on the black nationalist principle espoused by Garvey. Chief among his projects was the Black Star Line. It was initially set up to...

Marcus Garvey and the socialists

When in our predecessor paper Workers’ Action (no.117, 1978) Colin Waugh wrote about Marcus Garvey he noted, I think rightly, that Garvey is a figure known now more by reputation than by belief. In the recent Black Lives Matters demonstrations, “Garveyism” as an entire political outlook has certainly been marginal. But “Garveyite” beliefs persist. His legacy is probably more readily accessible to people in the popular consciousness via Roots Reggae and Hip Hop. Garvey led for a short period the largest black organisation of its day, the United Negro Improvement Association And African...

Video: After the US election, which way for the left? Debate

Intro speeches — Video and audio — from 15 December on "After the US election, which way for the left?" by Ruth Cashman, Workers' Liberty; Thomas Harrison, New Politics Editorial Board (personal capacity); and Robert Cuffy, Guyanese socialist based in New York, member of DSA and the Socialist Workers Alliance of Guyana. A discussion on the results of the US election and tasks facing class struggle socialists. Trump and the Republican Party continue to resist the result of the US election; what impact will they have? We heard about what the left and social movement activists are doing to defend US democracy and develop class struggle responses to the pandemic, jobs and social crisis.

Suspended just for discussing

The chair, co-secretary, and various other members of Bristol West CLP have been suspended for allowing a motion to be heard condemning the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn. After one branch passed the motion, the unelected regional director of the Party advised the chair against the motion being heard at the CLP. The chair nonetheless called a meeting which first voted to hear the motion, by 94 to 59, and then passed motion 99 to 80. No debate was heard on the motion itself, reportedly to ensure the Equality and Human Rights Commission report on Labour and antisemitism itself could not be...

US: "Mobilise on the streets"

Traven Leyshon, a socialist and trade unionist in Vermont, spoke to Sacha Ismail from Solidarity on 3 November, polling day for the US presidential and congressional elections. This is a very tense country now. There’s a widespread perception among the Trump supporters that there’s going to be violence from the left. They expect their homes and cars to be vandalised after the election if Trump wins, and in general rioting in the streets “from the other side”. It’s a deep paranoia. I guess it goes along with fairly widespread acceptance of conspiracy theories, and it’s been fed and built up by...

Black culture and resistance: the Harlem Renaissance

One hundred years ago, an arts movement was forming in a mainly-black district of New York City. Later known as the Harlem Renaissance, it was primarily cultural but also inescapably political. Literature, poetry, jazz, theatre, sculpture and more articulated the lives and demands of African-Americans no longer willing to be grateful that they were no longer enslaved. O black and unknown bards of long ago. How came your lips to touch the sacred fire? How, in your darkness, did you come to know The power and beauty of the minstrel’s lyre? Who first from midst his bonds lifted his eyes? Who...

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